India is renowned as the seat of spiritualism and the abode of God. The pilgrimage destinations in India provide the centers of yoga, meditation, and peace.
Major pilgrimage destinations
The pilgrimage destinations are spread all over the country. Starting with small communities, Sikhs have the Golden Temple at Amritsar as their most revered pilgrimage destination. The gold plated temple is also an architectural masterpiece. The Jain community visits the Dilwara temples of Mount Abu and Palitana in Gujarat in large numbers. The temples of Dilwara display splendid carvings in marble. There are many Buddhist pilgrimage destinations also most of which are located in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Bodhgaya is where Lord Buddha had attained enlightenment. The attractive Mahabodhi temple stands at the place. At Vaishali, Lord Buddha had delivered his last sermons. Rajgir is where he spent a considerable part of his life. Buddhists also hold Nalanda, Sarnath, Dharamshala, Leh, and Tawang in great reverence.
The list of Hindu pilgrimage sites in the country is endless. Most devotees throng to India’s south where some of the magnificent and most revered temples belonging to ancient period dot the landscape. The most prominent temples are Meenakshi and Rock Fort in Tamil Nadu, Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh, Badami Caves in Karnataka, Sabarimala and Guruvayur in Kerala. Rameshwaram is also a sacred pilgrimage destination with many temples. In Orissa, the Jagannath temple of Puri, Sun temple of Konark and Lingaraja temple of Bhubaneshwar are the most visited. The temples of Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh display the best art forms of ancient India in the form of exquisite carvings and sculptures.
However, some of India’s most sacred pilgrimages are either located on the banks of holy river Ganges or perched on the lap of Himalayas. They include Haridwar, Rishikesh, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. The last four are regarded as Char Dham and it is believed that a pilgrimage to them paves the way for one’s salvation. Varanasi has a number of ghats belonging to the ancient period where river Ganges is worshipped regularly. The temples of Mathura and Vrindavan are dedicated to Lord Krishna. The festival of Holi and Janmashtami are celebrated in a big way in these places.